Working Effectively With Your Care Partner

                                    

Tonight my wife and I are going to an Alzheimer’s support group meeting at the Gloria Dei Lutheran church in Urbandale IA. After hearing from a speaker the group then breaks down into sub groups. A couple of the sub groups are made up of care partners and other subgroups are made up of folks like me who have some form of the disease. How many groups there are depends upon attendance.

On Saturday, April 15 I attended a program sponsored by the Rwandan Community in Iowa along with Iowa Friends of Rwanda. Although I have been a number of places on this planet I have never been to Africa much less the country of Rwanda. I do, however have a good friend who has been there many times and has shared stories about the country and it’s past trials and tribulations. In addition he has brought a number of students over to attend Iowa colleges.

As I think I have mentioned before, at least I think I have, my diagnosis depends upon which doctor I listen to. A couple of years ago it seemed certain that I had Vascular Dementia, then a year later with lots of tests, the words I remember were Stage I Alzheimer’s. Now after a review by a very well respected local physician with lots of background in all of this, the words used are now Mild Cognitive Impairment.

At 4:15 am on Friday March 23, my wife and I drove over and picked up my granddaughter Zoe, 22, and got her to the Des Moines airport for a 6:00 am direct flight to Washington DC to attend the March For Our Lives scheduled on the March 23rd. She was accompanied by her friend Madeline,19 . They went in on Friday to talk to the ATF Leadership and to the staff of both Senator’s Grassley and Ernst.

After reading the paper and listening to the local news regarding the end of Bill Dix’s political career I am reminded of a quote by John Dalberg-Action, who wrote a letter to an Anglican Bishop. In it he said, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. As we move closer to the 2018 elections, I would urge Democrats to be humble and keep that in mind. For those of you old enough to remember the Democrats in the mid ‘80s had to live down a similar (and probably worse incident) which made the front page of the Des Moines Register. It was a juicy article on a party in Mingo Iowa where a group of legislatures got together at a party with strippers and a Democrat legislator from Sioux City was caught on stage engaging in a certain act (don’t think it was filmed back in the day) which caused a real up roar.

For those of you who may be following my musings on dementia and Alzheimer’s, this is my 7th posting on my blog.

For me to remember what I wrote before requires me to reread each one, but since each day is a bit different, hopefully each writing is maybe a little different as well.

I guess I’m writing today out of frustration with technology that seems to come at me daily. For me, changes in technology or a breakdown of technology, is beyond my understanding. I’m certain that generally is true of most folks over 70 but with some type of dementia diagnosis, it gets geometrically harder.

Events have truly heated up in the past few days as the Chair and staff of the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have created and then approved releasing a memo on the FBI, and their use of FIZA warrants in the Russia investigation. It seems to me there is so much “he said, she said” in this debate that the average American has given up trying to figure it out and in most cases has reverted to their respective corners of either believing Fox News or CNN/MSNBC commentary. Even I, who attempt to understand much of it, have a hard time keeping the players and accusations straight.

In my humble opinion there are two key issues above all else Democrats should focus on; health care, and the hollowing out of the middle class or in a word, wages. Many articles have been written about American health care. Writers compare our system to other countries, talk about our costs being higher then everyone else and complain about unaffordable access. All of that is true.

As regards wages, the American economy is working great for the folks at the top or more specifically those who have gotten great raises and invest heavily in the market. Those who live paycheck to paycheck have not done well at all. The recent tax changes, which in some cases gave workers bonuses by their companies was welcomed, but frankly I doubt a bonus of a thousand dollars was enough to pay off the accumulated credit card debt of most middle class Americans.

As most know by now I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (ALZ for short) in the spring of last year. After a recent trip back to Mayo’s I find there is a difference of opinion from various Neurologists as to exactly what I have, the diagnosis’s range from early ALZ to Vascular Dementia to Mild Cognitive Impairment. I have been told the discrepancy arises because I am bright enough (me, not really sure of that) to do very well on all the written and verbal tests, but the brain scans show something worse. I have also determined I am far from alone in this pickle of not being sure what I have. Many others are facing the same problem. For me this raises the issue of how important research is on determining all facets of the disease and how to deal with it. My son says we will only know after I die and an autopsy is performed; think I will try to wait a while for that.

                           A Movement With Major Implications

Sometimes elections are about movements; in my view the 2016 election was certainly that. Lots of issues came together to defeat Hillary Clinton, but the rise of a disgruntled white, working class made up of semi skilled males was the core of the movement. With Hillary writing lengthily policy proposals on tons of issues and her opponent issuing a four word message, ‘Make America Great Again”, it was going to be a tough road because most marketing experts will tell you the short version always sells better. Those issues plus a little input from the Russians, and there you have it.